Author Rex Stout was born on December 1, 1886. A child prodigy with a gift for mathematics, Stout drifted as he became an adult, holding odd jobs in many places---cook, cabinetmaker, bellhop, hotel manager, salesman, bookkeeper, and even a guide in a pueblo. But his true talent lay in storytelling; he sold his first story, about William Howard Taft, in 1912. His most famous creation is Nero Wolfe, a 286-pound detective genius who, with sidekick Archie Goodwin, can often solve a case without leaving his room. It is the way in which the puzzle is solved that intrigues Nero Wolfe, who is much like Sherlock Holmes in his ability to use deductive reasoning. More than 60 million copies (in 24 languages) of Stout's books have been sold. Stout writes quickly, drawing upon a lifetime of impressions. He neither uses an outline nor revises; he lets his characters take over as the story develops. The classy, erudite Nero Wolfe presents for readers an alternative to the hard-boiled branch of the genre. He died on October 27, 1975
Loren D. Estleman was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan on September 15, 1952. He received a B.A. in English literature and journalism from Eastern Michigan University in 1974. He spent several years as a reporter on the police beat before leaving to write full time in 1980. He wrote book reviews for such newspapers as The New York Times and The Washington Post and contributed articles to such periodicals as TV Guide. He is a writer of mysteries and westerns. His first novel was published in 1976 and since then he has published more than 70 books including the Amos Walker series, Writing the Popular Novel, Roy and Lillie: A Love Story, The Confessions of Al Capone, and a The Branch and the Scaffold. He received four Shamus Awards from the Private Eye Writers of America, five Golden Spur Awards from the Western Writers of America, the Owen Wister Award for lifetime achievement from Western Writers of America, and the Michigan Author's Award in 1997.